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HockeyNow is live at the NHL Draft in Chicago. Keep up to date with the Draft Buzz around the United Center all weekend with coverage from HockeyNow correspondent Marshall Mackinder.
This year may not present the most star-studded NHL draft class in recent memory, but with a legitimate argument to be made between the top two prospects for the first time in years, it’s sure to provide some added excitement when the New Jersey Devils take the podium in Chicago on June 23.
One thing is for sure at this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Nico Hischier won’t be waiting a long time to hear his name called by a big league team. The native of Naters, Switzerland is expected to be a top three selection and will best fifth overall, the highest draft record for a Swiss player, held by Nino Niederreiter (2010, Minnesota Wild).
Gabriel Vilardi checks off nearly every box of what a team would want from an NHL prospect. His 6-foot-2, 193-pound frame gives him a great foundation to work with when it comes to moulding an NHL body and then there’s all the tangibles he possesses that have made him an elite two-way forward with the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.
Though he has a couple of seasons of junior eligibility remaining, the time has come for Cale Makar to move on. Makar, an 18-year-old defenceman, has spent the past two seasons starring with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits.
Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are soaking up the spotlight heading into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but with so much talent between the pipes up for grabs, this could end up being remembered as the year of the goaltender.
With no dominant player as a consensus No. 1 and a field which many consider weak on the back end, a Canadian defenceman headed to an NCAA Division 1 program this fall is rated as one of the top prospects in the final rankings of candidates released by the International Scouting Service (ISS).
While many young NHL prospects will hear their names called this weekend in Chicago for the NHL Draft, there will also be those players who will not hear their name called.
On Sunday, the Windsor Spitfires became the seventh host team to win the Memorial Cup without winning its respective league championship. The win has many criticizing the format, some even spouting off that the Spitfires didn’t deserve to win—but that’s nothing but a lot of hot air.
The best was saved for last at this year’s Mastercard Memorial Cup. A tournament that featured three blowout decisions through six round robin games ended with the closest and wildest affair on Sunday with the host Windsor Spitfires defeating the OHL champion Erie Otters 4-3.
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